Tag Archives: buenos aires

Handy travel tip: Don´t touch the fruit!

The other day in the San Telmo markets in Buenos Aires I committed a great faux-pas. I touched the fruit at one of the grocery stalls. Avocados, specifically. I did know that you´re not meant to touch but it must have slipped my mind when I saw some ripe, voluptuous avocados just begging to be squeezed. ¨Are you going to buy those?¨ asked the woman at the store. ¨How much are they?¨ I asked back. Turns out they were twice the cost of the ones I´d just passed at another stall. So no, I said. ¨Well, you´ve been putting your hands all over them and having a feel,¨ she barked. And that´s when I remembered. You never touch the fruit and vegetables here. Instead, you ask for what you want and they pick and pack it for you. The lesson learnt was as firm (yet tender) as the avocados I ended up buying at half the price and spreading on my toast the next morning for breakfast.

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A beautiful building: Palacio de Aguas Corrientes

Keeping to the topic of the week, here are some snaps of a gorgeous building in Buenos Aires called the Palacio de Aguas Corrientes (the Palace of Running Waters). It was designed in 1877 as a water pumping station and today houses 12 metal tanks which can store a more than 60 million litres of potable water. Impressive! I like things that can be elegant and practical at the same time. 

Copyright

All images appearing on this blog (solange.posterous.com) may not be reproduced, copied or manipulated without the written permission of Solange Francois. © 2010

 

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This city just ain’t built for heavy rains: An Ode

Yesterday arvo, much to my elation
I had to go to Retiro bus station
To purchase a ticket that will take me away
Up north to Paraná this very Thursday

110 pesos later with ticket in hand
I continued my day as originally planned
But when I departed to get onto the subway
I noticed the skies has turned a dark shade of grey

The word "pouring" doesn't do this rain justice
I thought as I fell into a torrential abyss
Taxi cabs were too hard to flag down
So I waded through the water which was a slight tint of brown

I then reached what could only be described as an ocean
As my pants soaked through further I could feel the emotion
A tear almost fell when I lost my left flip flop
But luckily I found it when it sailed to the top

I was decidedly uncomfortable on my next subway ride
As you would be with wet pants and a damp backside
Yet I was excited at the thought of a hot cup of tea
And the opportunity to go for a much-needed pee

But as I approached my next stop of the day
A mighty gust of wind blew my way
Unsurprisingly, my large umbrella flipped 
And my thumb got caught and the skin was stripped

I did make it to my destination although bleeding and wet
After an adventurous afternoon I'll never forget
Kristina rescued me from the tumultuous sea
And we sat down to watch a movie on DVD

Again, the flooding featured on the evening news
The many people affected have very strong views
It's pretty clear to me now from the state of the drains
That this city just ain't built for such heavy rains!
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Drivers in Bs.As. are crazy

Having only being 5 years old when I left Argentina, every time I come back I am repeatedly shocked at the disorganization and utter chaos that is the traffic in Buenos Aires. Here are some of the exciting things you can expect to see on the roads here:

  • Lanes, even where they are clearly marked, are quite astonishingly invisible to locals

  • Indicators also do not exist, especially when changing aforementioned “lanes”

  • There is a game in which you have to pass pedestrians and other vehicles as close as possible without hitting them

  • If there are enough cars in a queue at a toll road pay station, everybody honks and keeps driving so the operator lifts the bar and lets them through for free

  • The best time to pull out is exactly the opposite of when there is a gap in the traffic

The thought of having to drive in Buenos Aires is a hypothetical thought only, but it sends me into hypothetical shivers. I’m a firm believer of “never say never” but with my firmly established piloting experience limited to the calm and orderly streets of New Zealand, I can quite confidently say that I will never drive in Buenos Aires. That being said, I have to admit that I do experience a somewhat self-punishing level of enjoyment as a passenger, because it’s almost like being in a giant dodgem ride at an amusement park. But how people manage to avoid collisions never ceases to amaze me. 

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Floods and power cuts…

On Monday night, after an abundant amount of rain, the power went out and the streets flooded. Unfortunately, my aunt's house has the garage, laundry and storage area below street level, and this became an undeniably uninvited pool of decaying water, with an all-inclusive blend of leaves, grime and rubbish that had washed in from the street. From 11pm till 2am my aunt, my cousins and I made what felt like a feeble attempt to reduce the depth of water using buckets. However, our work was not for nothing as we managed to get the level of water just below the bottom of my uncle's car door so no more would enter. He just returned from Seattle and is getting the rundown as we speak.

Fortunately yesterday afternoon my aunt managed to get hold of a truck that sucked all the water out. It ended up being a total of over 24,000 litres, which is a good part of a private swimming pool. 

We were told the power would be back at 6pm yesterday, but apart from a flickering, teasing second of light at 10pm, it did not return in full until 5am. On the bright side, the lack of power meant we had a few romantic meals by candlelight, and my cousins and I played a board game!  

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